Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 226

Some important reminders: for our Iowa and California readers: don't forget there are special elections THIS Tuesday, Sept. 1st in both these states. See HERE FOR IOWA'S 90th HOUSE DISTRICT, and SEE HERE FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.

Of course the big news of the week is the death of Edward Kennedy. He was a flawed yet still great man and in this hour of fighting for healthcare reform he will be very much missed. I include Obama's eulogy to Kennedy in this newsletter as a fitting tribute. But I also urge you to honor Kennedy's memory by fighting harder than ever for healthcare reform, his last great fight. More below.

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 225

It's all about healthcare this week. I try to highlight in the local focus pages any healthcare rallies and town halls I can. You can also find out more about what you can do to fight for healthcare reform by going here. In particular, go here to find town hall meetings near you. I can't emphasize enough how important this is. I have focused on contacting and lobbying several congressional reps. I either know or spent some real effort to help get elected.

I also return to my previous focus on Burma and their main American enablers, Chevron/Texaco, and I return to my discussion of why Bank of America sucks.

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Progressive Democrat Issue 224

Healthcare remains a hot issue this week. And this is really the critical moment. Now is the time for you to contact your Congressional Reps, your Senators, and your local media to give your opinion on healthcare reform. Remember the real facts, the numbers that show America spends top dollar for mediocre medical outcomes. We are on par with Slovakia, Albania and Cuba even though we spend more than almost any other nation on earth. Sweden, Canada, The Netherlands and the UK have the best overall cost to outcome ratio.

This could be our last chance for decades to reform our healthcare system, and it really needs your input both to Congress and the media.

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NC-Sen: "Bank Run" Burr Can't Top 43% Against Any Democrat

Public Policy Polling offers the latest unintimidating numbers for vulnerable freshman Republican backbencher Richard "Bank Run" Burr:

Burr v. Generic Democrat 42-35
Burr v. Elaine Marshall      43-31
Burr v. Cal Cunningham   43-28
Burr v. Kevin Foy             43-27
Burr v. Kenneth Lewis       43-27

On top of Burr's inability to top 43% against anybody, his approve-disapprove stands at 38-32.  PPP points out:

For sake of comparison Elizabeth Dole was at 48% in August of 2007. ...

That 43% he's earning against all four Democrats publicly contemplating making a run for it is identical to the 43-27 lead Dole had when first tested against Kay Hagan. So overall Burr is in a very similar position 15 months out to where his defeated former colleague was.

"Bank Run" Burr is in an identical position as Liddy Dole was when it comes to match-ups v. Democrats; and, Burr is in a significantly worse position than Dole was when it comes to personal approval ratings.  Burr is hardly toast yet.  If the economy doesn't pick up enough, leading to a Republican year in 2010, he could yet survive a challenge.  Further, which Democrats will enter the Senate primary is still an unknown.  That said, there is every reason to presume that Burr is the most vulnerable Republican incumbent running for re-election in 2010.

For daily news and analysis on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

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NC-Sen: Is Richard Burr a Birther Like His Base?

"Birther" has entered the parlance as someone who doubts or flat-out denies President Obama's natural born citizenship.  It turns out that a sizable chunk of southern Republicans are birthers.

Public Policy Polling tested North Carolina voters to find out how prevalent the birther phenomenon was in the Tar Heel State.  As for the results, wow:

Only 54% of North Carolina voters say with certainty that they believe Barack Obama was born in the United States, with 26% saying they think he was not, and 20% unsure. ...

47% of Republicans in the state think Obama was not born in the US, with 29% unsure, and just 24% stating that they think he was.

Almost half of North Carolina Republicans think President Obama is not a natural born citizen and more than a quarter aren't sure.  All told, 76% of North Carolina Republicans - seventy-six percent - qualify as birthers!  It also turns out that some of these folks are utter morons:

We also threw in a question about whether people considered Hawaii to be part of the United States, and 8% of respondents either said they did not or that they were unsure.

A prominent subsection of North Carolina birthers doesn't think Hawaii is part of the United States or isn't sure.  Wow.  Just... wow.  But back to Richard Burr.  Public Policy Polling also shares this statistical tidbit (emphasis added by me):

I'd be interested to see someone in our North Carolina Press Corps get Richard Burr's take on the birthers. I'm guessing he thinks it's a crackpot theory, but our poll found that 38% of voters who approve of his job performance think Obama was not born in the US while only 35% think he was, so he risks antagonizing his base if he goes too far.

A plurality of those who approve of Burr's job performance are birthers.  In other words, the birthers are Burr's base.  (Feel free to make a "Burrther" joke here.)  This rightly begs the question (that Public Policy Polling thinks should be asked by the North Carolina media, and I wholeheartedly agree): Where does Richard Burr stand on the birther issue?  Does Burr think that President Obama is a natural born citizen?  Is he not sure?

If Richard Burr agrees with the birthers, then he is a crackpot, too.  If Richard Burr agrees with common sense, he risks alienating his birther base.  And if Richard Burr gives an "I'm not sure" halfway response, he'll alienate both his birther base and those with common sense.

Do you want a fun little project?  Give Burr's Senate offices a call (Asheville: 828-350-2437; Rocky Mount: 252-977-9522; Winston-Salem: 336-631-5125; Gastonia: 704-833-0854; Wilmington: 910-251-1058; Washington DC: 202-224-3154) and note that a vast majority of North Carolina Republicans question whether or not President Obama was born in the United States and very politely ask if Burr also questions whether or not President Obama was born in the United States.  Share what you find out in the comments.

For daily news and updates on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

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